As we head into late fall we are hit with a barrage of holidays. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Years. Valentine’s Day.
All of these celebrations have one thing in common - lots of food! These moments should be enjoyed. The last thing you want to do is avoid or dread family get-togethers because you are afraid of what it will do to your waistline. These are times for family and cultural celebrations. Food is a part of that. And that’s ok!
Like everything we talk about at Blueberry, the key to thriving during the holidays is awareness. By knowing cause and effect, making conscious choices, and planning ahead, you can take the stress of the holidays off your plate.
Try these 4 strategies to help you make conscious choices that will
serve you and your goals:
1) Look back to last yearTake a moment to review your behaviors during last holiday season. Do you remember how you felt after family get-togethers, parties, bake sales? How did you feel January 1st? What are your most pleasant memories of wellness? What are your regrets? Journaling these memories is a wonderful way to prepare for the coming year. If there are patterns of behavior that lead to unintended consequences, it may be a good time plan ahead to avoid these moments this time.
I spent almost every Thanksgiving at my sister’s house rolling around on the couch in agony after stuffing my face. Finally, last year, I recognized the pattern and chose only those foods I truly enjoy for my plate. I also packed some leftovers so my brain knew this wasn’t my only chance to have them. I was finally upright at the end of the meal and I can’t begin to tell you what a difference that made.
2) Establish Healthy Habits NOWMost people cringe at the idea of starting a wellness journey when the holidays are approaching. But this is actually the PERFECT time to start small and establish some Bare Ass Minimums (BAMs) that can carry you through to next year. If you start establishing systems and taking small steps now, these actions will be a part of your daily routine and will help guard against a decline in wellness during the holidays.
These habits can be anything from walking everyday to upping your vegetable intake. Many of these habits won’t have to do with WHAT you eat, but HOW you eat. For example, just being able to eat slowly (even if it's Christmas cookies!) can go a long way toward portion control and recognizing fullness in your body.
If you want to have a strong foundation built for year end, you can sign up for my HOW WE EAT Coaching program HERE.
3) Shape Your Environment
While we don’t have control over what is being served at the office holiday party or your Aunt’s cookie exchange, we DO have control over our own homes. Establish some rules about what is coming in and staying in your pantry now, before the onslaught of gift baskets and leftovers.
Here are a few ideas that work:
- Find a local charity to donate extra food (We have Philabundance in the Philly Area).
- Bring in extra sweets to the office to share with co-workers.
- Place fresh fruit and vegetables in the forefront of your fridge and kitchen while leaving the treats in a separate, harder to access area.
There are tons of small adjustments you can make in your daily routine and in your home to emphasize wellness and discourage overeating.
4) Mindfully Indulge
The holidays wouldn’t be any fun without eating the foods we associate with them. There is room for all of it in moderation.
- Eat every food slowly and with intention. First of all, it’s the best way to milk enjoyment out of every bite (and isn’t that the point?), secondly, it will help avoid overeating and bingeing.
- Second, know your red-light foods and eat them in small portions. For me, donuts are a big, flashing, red light. If I had a box of a dozen donuts in my house, I would eat them all within 24 hours. I make an effort, therefore, to go to my favorite bakery, once a season, to get one or two of my favorite donuts, eat them on the premises, and then leave empty handed. This way I shape the environment to help me stay on track. Figure out what your red-light foods are and do the same.
Here are a few Bonus Tips:
- If you want to give your family holiday treats but are trying to stay on track, find those that you can live without and bring them into the house.
- Buy halloween candy, bake hostess gifts or pot luck meals, RIGHT before the event. This way the meal, candy, treat, isn’t sitting in your kitchen, tempting you up to the last minute.
- If you want to bake, plan to give most of it away to neighbors or co-workers. Save yourself only the portion that will keep you from feeling guilty.
- Establish your BAM'S NOW. Make a conscious decision about your minimum maintenance behaviors and routinize them before the holidays are in full swing.
If you need extra support during the holidays, you can sign up for one on one coaching with me. This is a great option for extra accountability and planning help during the season.